Paso Robles school board row leads to censure
March 16, 2017
The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board censured one of its members Tuesday, accusing him of a wide range of misconduct including having a conflict of interest, spreading misinformation and threatening colleagues with references to guns, bullets and a cache of weapons. The director in question says many of the allegations are inaccurate and that the board and district staff are refusing to accept his unwillingness to conform to a culture of political correctness.
Chris Bausch, a Paso Robles real estate agent who serves on the school board, has been clashing with other board members for the past year, according to a district staff report. On Tuesday, the board voted 6-1, with Bausch dissenting, to censure him.
According to the censure resolution, Bausch made comments to individual board members regarding him carrying his “cache of weapons” and “a gun with big bullets” and that he “aims for the head.” Bausch also threatened to “destroy” board member Kathleen Hall; called her a “72-year-old, weak old lady; and questioned her religious beliefs, the resolution states.
The resolution also accuses Bausch of negotiating directly and colluding with a vendor that was trying to win a district contract, creating a real or perceived conflict of interest. Additionally, the resolution accuses Bausch of intending to violate the Brown Act by wandering off topic at a board meeting in attempt to discus issues like a bond, sales tax, the minimum wage and Obamacare.
Furthermore, Bausch spread misinformation about the district and turned to local media to portray the district in a negative light, the resolution states.
The district board voted to censure Bausch following a heated discussion during which Bausch apologized for some remarks but said most of the allegations were unsubstantiated. Several public speakers at the hearing supported Bausch and criticized the move to censure him.
Then on Wednesday, Bausch authored a response to the censure that was published by the Paso Robles Daily News.
Bausch’s response said the resolution contains many unsubstantiated and inaccurate allegations, as well as findings that were taken out of context. Bausch stated that the threats he was accused of making were taken completely out of context.
In the article, Bausch argued the motive of the censure was to punish him for dissent.
“I view the censure as the board’s attempt to reign in what they consider to be a renegade board member who in their opinion is not a team player, or who says things that they feel are inappropriate and embarrassing to the district; and asks hard questions that they feel are too aggressive,” Bausch wrote. “I will never relinquish and never waiver from defending my God-given rights guaranteed by the First and Second Amendments. No board has that power.”
Bausch went on to say that he has tried to work out his problems with other board members and that he agreed to attend counseling with them. However, his colleagues on the board refused to attend counseling with him, Bausch wrote.
As a way to resolve the apparent dysfunction, Bausch is requesting that the SLO County Office of Education, the California Department of Education and the SLO County Grand Jury each assemble committees to review the Paso Robles school board’s problems.